Soybeans soared to a 4-week high, with the May contract settling 43 cents higher at $13.56 a bushel. Strong export sales, and speculation that Argentina farmers will strike was noted for today's 3.3 percent gain.
Argentine farmers late last month blocked the port of Rosario, and threatened to plant fewer crops after the export taxes climbed from 35 to 44-percent.
According to the Department of Agriculture, export sales in the week ended April 3 was pegged at 583,800 metric tons from a week earlier. This number was more than three times the amount from the previous week. Shippers are concerned that if they send ships to Argentina that there is a strong possibility of another farmers strike by the time they get there.
Corn retreated from yesterdays record high, with the May contract settling 10 3/4 cents at $5.94 ½ a bushel. The longs in the market seemed to be locking in profits after corn reached an all-time high, following Wednesday bullish crop report.
Inventories of U.S. corn is pegged at 35.8 days of estimated consumption before this year's harvest, down from 42.5 days a year earlier and 63.7 days two years ago, data from the USDA show.
Rice jumped 2-percent higher with the May contract settling 40 1/2 cents higher at $21.10 1/2 per hundredweight. Export bans and tight global supplies continues to send rice to fresh record highs.
May wheat settled 11 cents lower at $9.23 per bushel, May soy-meal settled $2.60 higher at $352.20 per short ton, and May soy-oil settled 210 points higher at 60.17 cents per pound.
Cotton climbed over 1-percent higher today, with the May contract settling 90 points higher at 74.75 cents a pound. Spill-over strength from the soybeans helped off-set the negative tone early due to the stronger dollar. Cotton continues to trade on outside markets after yesterdays USDA supply/demand report had no surprises.
Orange juice continues to falter, with the May contract settling 2.65 cents lower at $1.1075 a pound. Yesterday, the USDA raised the Florida 2007-08 orange production estimate by 1.5 million 90-pound boxes to total 168.5 million boxes.
May coffee settled 475 points lower at $1.3175 a pound, May sugar settled 12 points higher at 12.52 cents a pound, and May cocoa settled $93 higher at $2,469 a metric ton.
Pork bellies fell for the second straight session, with the May contract settling 1.225 cents lower at 71.375 cents a pound. Profit-taking, after the market settled higher five out of the past seven sessions, was noted for today's pull-back.
April lean hogs settled .25 cents lower at 59.42 cents a pound, April live cattle settled 1.70 cents higher at 88.47 cents a pound, and April feeder cattle settled .87 cents higher at 100.82 cents.
Gold closed modestly lower today, with the June contract settling $5.70 lower at $931.80 an ounce. Strength in the U.S. dollar was noted for today's decline. May silver settled 16 cents lower at $18.04 an ounce.
Copper retreated for yesterday's record high, with the May contract settling 7.6 cents lower at $3.924 a pound. Profit-taking and strength in the greenback was noted for today's decline.
June palladium settled $5.55 lower at $468.75 an ounce and July platinum settled 40 cents lower at $2,045 an ounce.
Crude oil fell a modest .7-percent today, with the May contract settling 76 cents lower at $110.11 a barrel. Strength in the U.S. dollar, and speculation that energy demand will fall in the face of record prices sent the market slightly lower on the session.
The Energy Department expects gas prices to average as much as $3.60 a gallon this summer, with a potential for a spike as high as $4 a gallon. They also expect summer gasoline demand to fall for the first time in 17 years. May RBOB gasoline settled 2.74 cent lower at $2.7468 a gallon.
Natural gas for May delivery settled 7.6 cents higher at $10.132 per 1,000 cubic feet. The Energy Department reported today that natural gas supplies fell by 14 billion cubic feet last week. This was in line with analyst expectations.
May heating oil settled 1.95 cents higher at $3.215 a gallon.
Are you interested in learning more about trading commodities? Visit our Financial Education Center!